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Shelley Osterloh ReportingInternational aid is rushing in behind the wake of the damage. Even though the quake was half way around the world, the shockwaves were detected here, and now some are wondering what they can to do to help the victims.
Monitoring equipment at the University of Utah Seismograph Station picked up the ocean quake, not so much as it vibrated through the core of the earth, but as it shook the exterior surface.
Walter Arabasz, Dir. U of U Seismograph Station: “This is a kick to the planet. Mother Earth has done something special to kick itself and start the earth ringing.”
The 9 magnitude earthquake was the most powerful the world has seen in 40 years, sending tidal waves smashing into Asia’s shorelines. Rescue workers from Red Cross and other organizations are already streaming into affected areas with medical supplies, drinking water and other equipment. The Red Cross of Greater Salt Lake is urging people to make financial donations to the international Red Cross relief fund, then workers can purchase supplies nearby.
Patti O'Connor, Red Cross of Greater Salt Lake: "Financial help is better than in-kind donations because we are able to purchase supplies that are needed in that area, and that will also help the infrastructure."
The Salt Lake Charity "Globus Relief" is also asking for financial donations to fund a shipment of medical and hygiene supplies to disaster victims.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced church leaders in Asia are already providing immediate assistance to disaster victims. The Chruch plans to send a welfare services representative from Salt Lake City to the assess the needs there.
A spokesmen also said all missionaries for the church serving in areas hit by the tsunami have been safely accounted for. And as far as they know, there are no reports of death or injury to church members.
And while the relief organizations assess what aid is needed, there is a warning to those who want to help. There are a number of questionable on-line appeals for donations and many are from bogus charities. The Better Business Bureau of Utah urges donors to stick with existing US and local charities that have a proven record for delivering aid.
The Red Cross Donation phone number is 1-800-help-now.